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Why It Wasn't Love by SeaStar [Reviews - 6]


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***


Back in the castle for the first time since he was a student, he could tell it wasn't love. After all, he hadn't come to see her, hadn't realised that, as deputy headmistress and trusted member of the Order, she would be sitting alongside Dumbledore, hearing his confession and repentance. He was sure Dumbledore knew there was something more behind his sudden conversion, but he kept the details to himself. The chill that had gripped him as the Dark Lord spoke her name wasn't something he intended to share with others. Particularly not with her. Because it wasn't like it was love. And he certainly wasn't here to beg her forgiveness, so the warmth in his heart when she escorted him to a bed in the infirmary, her fingers lightly brushing over his forehead in benediction as he closed his eyes - well, that was just a coincidence. Nothing to do with love.


***


He was fairly certain it couldn't be love. With his new (and not entirely welcome) position as Potions master, they were colleagues now, and it was hardly practical to fall in love with one's colleagues. No one suspected such a thing, and he'd have corrected their erroneous impression harshly if they had. Surely, if he loved her, he'd be less vicious in his dealings with those Gryffindors she regarded so fondly (and, despite what anyone might think, he was certain that jealousy had nothing to do with that - really, why should he care who got most of her time and affection?). Surely, if he loved her, he'd thank her for the advice she offered, rather than snarling at her and deliberately provoking her? And their already notorious Quidditch rivalry was obviously based on a mutual antipathy and was certainly not a surprisingly successful bid for her attention. No, he didn't think that sounded like love at all.


***


He still maintained that it wasn't love. Their frequent chess games were nothing but stress relief - as, too, were the even more frequent arguments. The nights spent in each other's quarters were harder to explain away, but he was sure he could if he put his mind to it - he just had no intention of wasting his time on such a pointless exercise when he was clear in his own mind that it had nothing to do with love. He could identify love when he saw it: it was all to do with flowers and chocolates and nauseating poetry, so far as he could tell - and this thing they had resembled that not at all. Besides, no grown man should be in love with a cat. He'd told her that once and she'd slapped him across the face. Apparently, there was some difference between a cat, and an Animagus whose animal form was a cat. Maybe he should have paid more attention to his Transfiguration lessons all those years ago, and less to the charms of his Transfiguration professor, with whom he still wasn't in love, whether he called her a cat or not.


***


He still scoffs at the word 'love' but he's starting to wonder whether the concept is more elastic than he gave it credit for, and whether it might not stretch to encompass this whatever-it-is he has with Minerva. After all, it's been going on for nearly thirty years now. No one else thinks it's love, but what would they know? Not that he's saying it is love, of course. When she finally retired from Hogwarts, he'd spent twenty-four hours stalking aimlessly around the castle, before submitting his resignation and following her. That had caused a bit of a stir. If he were honest, he'd admit to having enjoyed the controversy. After decades of unfailing discretion, it was hardly thoughtlessness which prompted the little pats and caresses he now bestowed on her in public. She'd raised an eyebrow at him the first couple of times, but had voiced no objection, so he'd assumed she enjoyed the stir they were making as much as he. Were he less wary of appearing a lovelorn fool, he might have tried discussing it with her. As it was, he'd have to rely on his own judgement, which told him that probably it wasn't love. At least, maybe it wasn't. Possibly.


***


Now he'll admit to love, when there's no one left to hear him. The irony doesn't escape him. Suddenly it seems that everyone knew. Except him. And her. As he cradles her lifeless body, holding her for the last time, he wonders how everyone else had seen what he'd missed for so long. He knew now, all too well, what was meant by love. And he hadn't told her. But maybe...maybe she'd known all along.


And maybe, so had he.

Why It Wasn't Love by SeaStar [Reviews - 6]


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